Harry Peterson Boiler

1958_Peterson_5Installation of a Harry Peterson boiler in a Stanley.  In the 1950’s and 1960’s before Stanley cars became valuable and then people started making good quality replica Stanley boilers and burners using the authentic original designs there were very few options for a person who had a Stanley and they all had by that time either a rusted out or a burned out boiler and cracked or broken burners and pilots.


Harry Peterson was a retired Detroit policeman and he made many of his two drum Babcock & Wilcox design boilers with gun burners.  Here is a very neat installation in a condenser Stanley.PetersonFinished

I thank Kelly Williams for finding these original photos.  Some of the boilers were more circular, and some more rectangular.  They were made to fit the vehicle.  The rectangular ones fit in a Stanley just like a Derr boiler did.PetersonGuts

Here is the two-drum boiler.  there were three down comers, which are the two tubes in the front of this photo coming out of the top drum.  the third down comer is in the back and out of sight.  The up comers were spaced as close together as possible and still get in a good double weld.  At the top a smaller horizontal pipe went into the top drum.  The 1909 Stanley we worked on recently with a Peterson boiler had a perfectly round design so that it fit in the car without changing one thing.
1958_Peterson_4 1958_Peterson_3

Harry Peterson boilers had a reputation for sending about half of the heat up the chimney.  Some of them were down draft and with them the exhaust air exited at the bottom of the boiler.  The rumor is that there was always a scorched circle of grass under every Stanley that was fired up with a Peterson boiler.  The issue is always to make a compact boiler.  It needs a large combustion chamber and then some tubes.   With these large and thick walled tubes there was not a lot of surface area for heat exchange, hence some inefficiencies.  However, the boilers never scorched or melted.  Our boiler in the 1909 made steam in five minutes.  It was very easy to run with a gun burner, merely flipping a switch and letting the pressure transducer turn the burner off at the pre-set 280 psi.  A water level controller operated the pump by-pass.   With a gun burner one had almost unlimited fire.  One was not restricted to the amount of fire as in an original Stanley where a larger fire lifted the water off the bottom sheet and scorched everything there.  It was a convenience to have a gun burner and the cost was another gallon or two of fuel per hour.


This is a more oval shaped boiler.  The economizer coils were traditional pancake coils sitting on top of the boiler.  As many of them were in place as was room.  Exhaust was off the top just like a Stanley and then went down and under the car heating the water.  The gun burner fired in near the bottom and against a 1/4″ shield so that there was good combustion before the flames ended up going all around the up comers.  1958_Peterson_1This view from the bottom shows the three down comers coming from the bottom of the top drum.  The top drum was quite short and it had several screens to prevent surging or priming.  There was room for good steam-water separation.  A single coil in the fire box was the superheater coil.  It is not shown in these photos and it came after the throttle.  The flame and combustion products were all around the up comers.  The gap on the right where the two down comers are located is for the gun burner.  Thus these downcomers were out of direct fire, unlike the back one.


This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s